By John A. Byrne, contributor
(poetsandquants.com) -- One of the most valuable assets of a top-ranked business school is its alumni network. It's a major consideration for applicants when choosing an MBA program, and it's a significant indicator of a school's brand strength in the marketplace.
But it's very hard to measure the strength of a school's alumni network. There is no available metric that will let you know how often alumni help current students land internships or jobs. There is no measurement to find out how often an alum returns a student's call for advice, mentorship, or networking.
There is, however, one very telling number to judge the strength of a school's alumni network: the percentage of alumni who give money to a school every year. As Paul Danos, dean of Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business, puts it, a school's annual alumni giving rate is "a long-term satisfaction index."
Alumni wouldn't likely hand over money to a school if they felt no affinity toward the institution or were unsatisfied with their MBA experience. So, high alumni giving rates might well be the best proxy to assess both the satisfaction of MBAs with an institution and the ultimate value of the network a graduate inherits at commencement.
Which business schools do exceptionally well on this index? Year in and year out, the Tuck School beats every other institution in the world when it comes to annual alumni giving. Last year, for example, some 67% of Tuck's 8,976 living MBAs wrote checks to the school. At a time when the average giving rate for a top-20 business school is roughly 20%, that is an extraordinary level of support.
"That is like the four-minute mile," boasts Danos. "The appreciation for Tuck grows as our graduates go out and speak to others about their experiences. I do think it's a long-term endorsement of the general way we educate." More
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